Fairey Fawn

The Fairey Fawn was a British single-engine light bomber of the 1920s. It was designed as a replacement for the Airco DH.9A and served with the Royal Air Force between 1924 and 1929.

Fairey fawn.jpg
Role Two-seat day light bomber
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Fairey Aviation
Designer F Duncanson
First flight 1923
Introduction 1924
Retired 1929
Primary user Royal Air Force
Number built 75


First prototype Fawn with short fuselage and single tank

The Fairey Fawn was designed by F Duncanson of Fairey Aviation as a replacement for the Airco DH.9A in the light day-bomber role, to meet the requirements of Specification 5/21 for an aircraft for reconnaissance and army cooperation duties. It was a development of the Fairey Pintail floatplane, powered by a Napier Lion engine.

The first of three prototypes flew on 8 March 1923.[1] The second and third prototypes were fitted with lengthened fuselages to improve stability, and this was adapted for the production version.[2] The Fawn was fitted with fuel tanks above the top wing in order to meet Air Ministry safety requirements. These tanks posed a hazard to the pilots if the aircraft overturned on landing.

First prototype Fawn with lengthened fuselage, revised tail and overhead tanks; the basis for the production Fawn Mk II

A revised specification 20/23 was issued which added the bomber role. Two prototypes and 48 production Fawn Mk II aircraft were ordered against the new specification in August 1923 to re-equip the home based DH.9A squadrons of the RAF, although the first two production aircraft were completed as short fuselage Fawn Mk Is. The remainder of this order were full production long fuselage Fawn Mk IIs.[2] The Fawn Mk III was fitted with a more powerful 468 hp (350 kW) Lion V engine, while the Fawn Mk IV was fitted with a supercharged Lion VI engine.

Operational historyEdit

The Fawn entered service with 12 Squadron in March 1924, equipping two further regular squadrons, 11 Squadron and 100 Squadron.[3] Despite the fact that the Fawn was originally intended to replace all the home-based DH.9A squadrons, four more squadrons continued to be equipped with the DH.9A for several more years before being replaced by other types.

The Fawn was not a popular aircraft in RAF service, having little better performance than the aircraft it replaced, and having a poor view for the pilot owing to the bulky Lion engine.[4]

The Fawn was replaced in these three regular squadrons in 1926, being replaced by the Hawker Horsley and the Fairey Fox. The aircraft freed up were used to equip two Special Reserve and Auxiliary Air Force squadrons, these remaining in service until 1929.[5]


Fawn Mk I
J6907 Prototype Short fuselage – 450 hp (340 kW) Lion II engine, later converted to Mk III
J6908 Prototype built with Long Fuselage
J6909 Prototype built with Long Fuselage
Two further Mk I aircraft were built as part of the main Mk II production batch.
Fawn Mk II
J6990 Prototype to Specification 20/23 ordered in February 1923
J6991 Prototype to Specification 20/23 ordered in February 1923
Long Fuselage – 450 hp (340 kW) Lion II engine. Main production type – 48 production aircraft built.
Fawn Mk III
468 hp (349 kW) Lion V engine. 20 built.
Fawn Mk IV
Twelve Mk IIIs were converted with supercharged Lion VI engines for a proposed Mk IV variant but the trial was abandoned and the Mk Iv designation was not used.


  United Kingdom

Specifications (Fawn Mk III)Edit

Fairey Fawn 3-view drawing from Les Ailes March 25, 1926

Data from The British Bomber since 1914 [7]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 32 ft 1 in (9.78 m)
  • Wingspan: 49 ft 11 in (15.21 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 11 in (3.63 m)
  • Wing area: 550 sq ft (51 m2)
  • Empty weight: 3,481 lb (1,579 kg)
  • Gross weight: 5,834 lb (2,646 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Napier Lion 12-cylinder, water-cooled broad arrow engine, 468 hp (349 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 114 mph (183 km/h, 99 kn) at sea level
  • Range: 650 mi (1,050 km, 560 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 13,850 ft (4,220 m)
  • Time to altitude: 6 min 30 sec to 5,000 ft (1,500 m)


See alsoEdit

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. ^ Mason 1994, p. 148.
  2. ^ a b Taylor 1988, pp. 108–109.
  3. ^ Thetford 1957, p. 202.
  4. ^ Mason 1994, pp. 149–150.
  5. ^ Mason 1994, p. 149.
  6. ^ Thetford Aeroplane Monthly February 1993, p. 10.
  7. ^ Mason 1994, p. 150.
  • Jarrett, Philip (January 1993). "By Day and By Night – Part 8: Fairey Fawn Development History". Aeroplane Monthly. pp. 6–11. ISSN 0143-7240.
  • Mason, Francis K (1994). The British Bomber since 1914. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
  • Taylor, H. A (1988). Fairey Aircraft since 1915. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-00065-X.
  • Thetford, Owen (1957). Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918–57 (1st ed.). London: Putnam.
  • Thetford, Owen (February 2003). "By Day and By Night – Part 9: Fairey Fawn Service History". Aeroplane Monthly. pp. 6–10. ISSN 0143-7240.